Man dead after altercation outside liquor store
on October 16, 2015
Richmond Police have confirmed that one man died Thursday night and another was taken into custody following a brief altercation in the parking lot outside Shop & Save Liquor on the corner of Cutting Boulevard and 15th Street in Richmond.
Footage from the store’s security cameras shortly after 7 p.m. show a young man in a red sweatshirt, striking an older man in the head with an open-palmed slap in the parking lot. The two men appeared to have had an argument inside the store moments before, which was also caught on video.
The parking lot footage shows the older man walk back inside the liquor store after he was slapped. He stands around for a few seconds, wobbly on his feet amid the rows of chips and candy, before collapsing, face up, on the counter next to the cash register. He would never regain consciousness, authorities said.
Police and paramedics arrived shortly after. A Richmond Confidential reporter happened to be in one squad car, observing Officer Mike Sagan on his rounds.
Police handcuffed the young man in the red sweatshirt and led him into the back seat of a squad car. The paramedics wheeled the older man out on a gurney and lifted him into the back of an ambulance.
Sagan said that paramedics tried to resuscitate the victim on their way to Kaiser Medical Center in Richmond. Authorities did not disclose his name. The man was pronounced dead at the hospital late Thursday night, Sagan said.
While the medical efforts were under way, police investigated back at the scene. Sagan and the shop clerk, Fikri Hugais, watched the security footage in a back room littered with receipts and rubber bands. A woman, also seen on tape with the two men, paced around the squad car. The suspect sat in the back seat. She said he was her son and that he was 26-years-old. She also said the man who died was her companion and that her son and the older man knew each other.
She refused to give her name. She screamed at the man in the squad car: “Always doing something for no reason! He didn’t do anything to you and now you’re going to jail for murder!”
No charges were filed Thursday night, police said.
Hugais said the man who died was a regular customer and was buying his usual order of two King Cobra beers, before the altercation. Hugais said he didn’t hear what the men were arguing about inside the store.
Police put yellow tape around the scene of the argument outside in the parking lot. Sergeant Virgil Thomas noted how quickly an apparent argument can escalate to tragedy.
“It shows how one, bad split-second decision can spiral out of control,” he said. “I’ve never heard of someone dying from a slap to the face.”
Thomas added that it would take an autopsy to establish the actual cause of death.
The man in handcuffs stared out the window during the short ride back to the station. He shook his head a few times.
“I only touched the man once, you can see it on the tape “ he said to Sagan, who was driving. “If I had done something, why would I wait outside for you?”
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